Kaoru Watanabe Trio:


Kaoru Watanabe (bamboo flute and taiko drumming), Satoshi Takeishi (percussion) and Maeve Gilchrist (Celtic Harp)

Brooklyn-based composer and Japanese drum and flute virtuoso Kaoru Watanabe, known for his cross-cultural collaborations with such artists as cellist Yo-Yo Ma, jazz pianist Jason Moran, Japanese National Living Treasure Bando Tamasaburo, flamenco star Eva Yerbabuena and for his work on Wes Anderson’s Isle of Dogs, performs music that takes the sounds of traditional Japan and blends them with dynamic improvisations and global rhythms. A long-time performing member and artistic director of the acclaimed taiko performing arts ensemble Kodo, Watanabe has performed his compositions at such prestigious venues as Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center, Boston Symphony Hall and the Sydney Opera House.

Kaoru will be joined by percussionist Satoshi Takeishi and Celtic harpist Maeve Gilchrist both acclaimed for their innovative approach to their instruments, and a dancer Nao Kusuzaki.


Born in Ehime, Japan, Nao Kusuzaki was raised in Japan, Washington D.C., Boston, and joined Houston Ballet in 2004 where she was a soloist from 2009-2016. Her repertoire includes: The Sugarplum Fairy, Nikiya, Madame Butterfly, The Lilac Fairy, works by Kylian, Forsythe, Welch, Tharp, and Wheeldon among others. Nao produced Dance for Hope, a benefit concert to the 2011 Japan Earthquake and Tsunami. In 2015, she co-created and featured in TSURU, and in July, 2017, she directed and danced in Japan Dance Project: Stanton Welch x Kenta Kojiri x Dancers from Houston Ballet held in Chiba-City, Japan. Nao is Founder of Creative Minds Collaborative Inc., a nonprofit organization which seeks to create meaning across artists, educators, and supporters of the arts.